November 2017

Teacher jailed for five years after being found guilty of sex offences against pupil

A PE teacher was jailed for five years for sexually abusing a girl pupil at school and exchanging indecent photographs.

Matthew Liversidge, 33, was unanimously found guilty of all six charges at the end of a trial during which he claimed that she invented the allegations.

Judge Timothy Spencer QC told the 15-year-old girl: “You must never reproach yourself or think any of this is your fault.

“You are a brave young woman. Everyone wishes you well,” he said at Nottingham Crown Court .

In a statement, the girl said: “I wish he had admitted what he had done and saved me distress and anxiety. I hope to get some closure, put this behind me and concentrate on my studies.”

The court heard that Liversidge had been head of PE and the judge told him: “If you not had given in to this infatuation – your madness – it is reasonable to think you would have had a long successful career in education.

“You have done enormous damage to the teaching profession at a wider level. It erodes the trust of pupils and the parents of pupils should have with members of the teaching profession.

“She was entitled to be treated properly by a man who was much older than her and someone who was her teacher. You preyed on her confusion. You have wreaked damage upon many people.”

A Sexual Offences Harm Prevention order was imposed on Liversidge, whose address was given in court as Great North Road, Weston, near Newark .

This includes a ban on unsupervised contact with any girl under 16. He was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

In giving evidence, Liversidge said he accepted the girl was attracted to him but wanted to “let her down” without upsetting her.

The court heard that Liversidge used the false name of “Dave Baker” during their contact on social media. He said the girl decided to change her name when contacting him.

They also had a secret code of sending “full stops” to make sure it was safe for them to make contact via a messaging site. Liversidge had a partner and a baby daughter at the time of the offences.

As the trial began, the court heard that Liversidge claimed that he did nothing wrong and that “it is all a figment and fabrication of her imagination”.

Mr Janes said the girl was “not the liar” in court and told Liversidge: “It is you.” Liversidge replied: “That is not correct.”

In a video interview played on the first day of the trial, the girl said he asked her: “Are you going to make the first move?” In the recorded interview, she said: “I didn’t really think anything of it.

“He said I had missed my chance with him. He told me to email him in the holidays. I said OK.”

She later claimed to have been hugged by Liversidge. Following that, the girl said there was “inappropriate” touching, some in a store room at the school.